April 23, 2011

What’s Your Home’s Walk Score?

imageZillow has added Walk Scores to homes on their site.  You can look up your house on Zillow or on Walk Score and see how walkable your neighborhood is, according to their formula.  The score is by the maps are on your house’s page.  Do you agree with your home’s walk score?

My neighborhood has a Walk Score of 65, or “moderately walkable.” However, there’s a new beta feature on Walk Score called Street Smart, which adds in number of intersections per square mile and block length in calculating the score, and on that measure my neighborhood goes down to 54, or only “Somewhat Walkable.”  What it doesn’t measure is how pleasant or unpleasant the walk is, based on number of shade trees or how well the sidewalk is maintained.

imageOh, it’s got some bugs, like calling a catering company run out of someone’s house a restaurant, but the idea makes sense.  I just don’t see being within 100 feet of a commercial zone as a good thing.  When I ran the same scores on a house across the street from some commercial zones near Fremont and Mary in Sunnyvale, the scores went up to 80 (Very Walkable, Walk Score) and 65 (Somewhat Walkable, Street Smart).  But another house behind a different big batch of retail centers at the corner of Hollenbeck and Homestead got scores of 66 and 69.


Feel free to report your Walk Score, or vehemently disagree with the algorithm, or bring up any topic you wish.  This is an Open Thread.  Remember, tomorrow is Easter, so late start to Spring Bounce this year!

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

April 17, 2011

Join the Realtor Party!

We are the REALTOR® Party: An energized movement of real estate professionals fighting to keep the dream of homeownership alive for this country.

Now more than ever, it is critical for REALTORS® across America to come together and speak with one voice about the stability a sound and dynamic real estate market brings to our communities. From city hall to the state house to the U.S. Capitol, our elected officials are making decisions that have a huge impact on the bottom line of REALTORS® and their customers. Through the support of REALTORS® like you, the REALTOR® Party represents your interests.

As a member of the REALTOR® Party, you…

Vote for REALTOR® Party Candidates.

Act on REALTOR® Party Issues.

Invest in RPAC.

So now it’s time to…

Join the REALTOR® Party.

Get other REALTORS® involved

Download the mobile app!

Learn how the REALTOR® Party is forging a new path with a bipartisan, issue-oriented approach to politics.

Learn about the issues the REALTOR® Party will be fighting for this year.

Take Part in the "We Are the REALTOR® Party Photo Challenge!

Learn more about the REALTOR® Party

Share on Facebook: Share

Yesterday I mentioned that the National Association of Realtors feels they are fighting for their very survival.  To do so, they are rallying their members to join their political arm (and doubling their dues in the process).

But you don’t have to be a NAR member to join in the fun.  Head on over to the Realtor Action Center and find out how you can make sure Realtors aren’t threatened by all these woes that they had nothing to do with, such as mortgage fraud, irresponsibly marketing homes to people who couldn’t afford them, or misrepresenting real property as an investment by people who aren’t qualified to be investment advisors.

The above copy from NAR shows what consummate professionals they are.  The very beginning of this new mission begins with a sentence fragment.  You can be assured there isn’t a single member of this fine organization who has any idea why that’s a mistake, either.

This is an Open Thread.  Feel free to weigh in on the the NAR, the Realtor Party, or any housing topic you wish.  Seen any cute Open Houses yesterday?  How about cute Realtors?  No?  Then check out these hot numbers, like Zebra Lady.  Rrowl!  Which one do you want to personally handle your escrow?

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:13 am

April 9, 2011

Open Houses and Open Thread


The above Burbed word cloud was generated on Wordle.  Thanks to Burbed reader nomadic for suggesting that site!

It’s Saturday!  Which open houses are you going to check out this weekend?  Feel free to post anything of interest now that Spring Bounce is here.  I can feel the offer prices climbing as I type this!

Comments (11) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

April 1, 2011

Burbed to be Acquired by Redfin

We’ve got some big changes coming, folks.

burbed by redfin

redfin logoSEATTLE, WA – April 1st, 2011 – Redfin, the internet-savvy online real estate firm, has announced an agreement to acquire the award-winning Silicon Valley real estate site Burbed and all its subsidiaries.  Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman explained at an industry conference that their strategy of thinking outside the box meant they had to wander further than most people expected.  “Customers appreciate our online tools and our agents who work on salary, plus our rebating part of the commission back to the customer,” he explained in an interview with Instant Equity Today.  “But we’ve pretty much maxed out on finding clients who know they want to buy property.  Those people tend to come to us.  Now we’re going to find the people who say they don’t won’t to buy.  We’ve found if we can identify those people and give them the right message, they tend to spend even more than the motivated buyer.”

Burbed mastheadBurbed, based in the renowned Gables’ End complex in Mountain View, CA, has generated quite a following among home aficionados who love to criticize the excesses of the housing market. “Anyone who would buy in this environment must be smoking something,” opined one regular commenter on the site.  The typical fare found on Burbed features home listings that few would consider desirable.  Part of the site’s appeal is its ability to demonstrate how out of whack pricing is with current market reality, although there is also a strong interest in seeing just how bad some of the offered property can be.  And Redfin couldn’t help but notice that all Burbed listings come direct from Redfin’s search tools.

image“Yesterday they had this place that a tree fell on,” enthused a regular reader in Gilroy, home of the internationally famous Gilroy Garlic Festival.  The listing had three pictures of this house completely crushed by this humongous dead tree.  Timber!”  Other regulars described the typical Burbed listing as either an overpriced “crapbox,” or a house with no visual appeal whatsoever, or an even more overpriced house with serious flaws the seller was blind to.

Kelman said such strong passions among Burbed’s readership indicate a desire to own a house, and Redfin will find a way to get those people locked into imagediscount-priced mortgages (also sold on Redfin).  “Look, my orders are to get as many people obligated to my financial overlords for the next thirty years.  This is the best way to find people who can buy but don’t want to.  Hey, I’d prefer you not print what I just said.”

Burbed’s CEO and majority shareholder, who would not identify him/herself other than by “burbed,” admitted that the current site content creators might not enjoy working for their new owner.  “But look, they can buy a million dollar place and save $12,500.  That’s a lot more than I was paying them.”  One of the content creators, when asked to comment on the news, unleashed a stream of profanity and turned her guitar amplifier up to 11.

imageKelman also admitted part of his interest in buying the Burbed syndicate, which was accomplished via a 10% first mortgage, a 5% HELOC, and an undisclosed number of suitcases of cash, was so he could have first crack at any Real Bay Area listing featuring marble columns.  “Damn, those are some of the best houses out there.  I want one.  I want to pinch myself and say I live here!  How ridiculous is that?”

Both firms, coincidentally, were founded in February, 2006.  Burbed will move its headquarters to Seattle but maintain its RBA presence.  “I don’t’ see how we can update that RBA map if we don’t,” explained burbed, while dodging a falling piano.  A Seattle version of the Burbed site is expected by the third quarter.

Comments (23) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

March 26, 2011

Thanks to NeighborCity.com

Thanks to NeighborCity.com for their sponsorship of Burbed! I truly appreciate it!

Find qualified San Francisco Bay Area real estate agents at NeighborCity.com.

Comments (3) -- Posted by: burbed @ 12:23 pm

March 6, 2011

Sorry for the interruption

As those of you who tried to access the site today noticed, the site had been down for some maintenance.

Long story short: I zapped the database and rebuilt it.

There will be weirdness – things that I’ve forgotten to reset, or things that are flat out broken.

Please let me know if you encounter any issues in the comments for this post.


Comments (2) -- Posted by: burbed @ 7:26 pm

February 19, 2011

Reasons to buy NOW!

Reasons To Buy Now


Thanks to Burbed reader Alex for this find from Dr. Horton… I mean… D.R. Horton.

No Tax Deductions! Sweet! There’s nothing like getting a tax deduction for paying interest to a bank!

How would you rewrite this ad for Dr. Horton?

Comments (22) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:04 am

January 20, 2011

Yeah, pictures are missing

Yeah, pictures are either missing or mismatched for posts after 1/8. I’m working on trying to undo this mess that I made this morning.

Comments (2) -- Posted by: burbed @ 11:36 am

January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Have you made a list of New Year’s resolutions?  That’s a difficult, painful, and ultimately pointless task, because few people keep them for long.  It’s far more effective to make resolutions for what other people should do. So here are some 2011 resolutions for Burbed readers.

  • Visit at least ten open houses this year – This is a good idea for several reasons.  One, if you want to become a homeowner, you need to start thinking like one.  Two, the more homes you visit, the better you will become at telling a bargain from a disaster.  And three, if the place you visit is an absolute piece of crap, you can send it in to Burbed so we have more material.
  • Take a real estate class – Real estate is a fascinating field, with its own language, customs, paperwork and buzzwords.  Not only will you learn something about the homebuying process, you will be able to pepper your Burbed comments with useful phrases such as “leverage” and “negative equity.”
  • Choose a trade-up area – Even if you already own a home, there’s probably someplace more Special than where you live.  Find one of those places and learn about it.  Follow new listings that appear from your designated “new” neighborhood.  Figure out how much it will take to trade to this new neighborhood and then justify your staying put in comments.
  • Create your home budget – Calculate how much discretionary income you have.  Take your gross paycheck, subtract all required payments out such as taxes, utilities, coffee and sushi.  You can list discretionary expenses such as clothing and movie money, but don’t include them in your budget.  Is your number positive?  Take the rent out too. Once you buy a home you won’t be paying rent to a landlord anymore when you can rent your money from a bank!
  • Determine how much home you can afford – Did you create your budget in the previous resolution?  Of course you didn’t.  Why don’t you go back and do that one for real?
  • Make an offer – Learn about the homebuying process by working with an agent, visiting homes, and submitting an offer to buy property.  The key to not having to actually buy a house is to only submit lowball offers.  In a healthy market, a lowball offer is usually more than 12% under asking price.  In today’s market, the wishing prices are usually much more than 12% over actual market prices, so you are going to only offer 25% or more under asking.  Otherwise, you’re in danger of having your offer accepted. In the event it is, remind the seller’s agent that she won’t be earning her full commission.  If your (buyer’s) agent objects to your approach, assure her that Suzanne researched this.

Well?  What are you waiting for?  It’s 2011! The time to buy is NOW!

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

December 18, 2010

They’re Baaaaaaaaack!

The Cheapest House In… series is so popular, what could be more appropriate than bringing back another one? That other perennial Burbed series, Most Expensive Zip Codes: RBA Edition!  Well, what indeed, other than some of the commenters saying they hated it?  But that’s okay.  That was just one or two hot-heads.  We know all the rest of you can’t wait to find out when San Jose makes an appearance on that list!

If you missed the previous entries in the ZIP code series, feel free to check them out.  The 500 most expensive zips were chosen by Forbes magazine, working with Altos Research’s data.  All the mistakes were entirely Forbes’, of course.  We just take credit for finding them.

And now, Burbed proudly presents (okay, not so proudly, we did get some Debbie Downers who moaned about this) The Most Expensive Zip Codes in the RBA: The Six Digit Edition.

#201 – 94506 Danville

Median Home Price: $1,072,360
Median Price Change: NA
Average Days On Market: 96
Inventory: 84 properties
Median Household Income: $142,459
Ignored Because: In East Bay, plus Forbes can’t figure out where Danville actually is.  Remember that expensive Danville zip here at #59?  That was actually Pleasanton.

#202 – 93924 Carmel Valley

Median Home Price: $1,064,710
Median Price Change: 9%
Average Days On Market: 206
Inventory: 101 properties
Median Household Income: $71,053
Ignored Because: Another gazillion square mile zip full of nothing.

image#211 – 95014 Cupertino

Median Home Price: $1,042,581
Median Price Change: -4%
Average Days On Market: 69
Inventory: 155 properties
Median Household Income: $100,020
Finally,, a place we can call home; home to Apple, home to Hewlett-Packard – oops, not any more! But it is home to the world-famous Cupertino Union School District, where parents raised two million dollars to keep teachers from losing their jobs another year.  So if you move in, you know you’ll be hit up for even more next year!

The median price is still over a million, but not for long!  At least it has an eight in it.

image #212 – 94010 Burlingame

Median Home Price: $1,035,952
Median Price Change: -25%
Average Days On Market: 88
Inventory: 122 properties
Median Household Income: $82,188

Conveniently located at the nexus of US 101 and SFO, Burlingame has many advantages which I’ll leave to the imagination.  Just as Los Altos Hills has Los Altos pulling down the averages, Hillsborough will always have Burlingame.  And why not, when they share the same ZIP code?  And in an amazing coincidence, they also share the same median income.

Anyone who thinks the typical Hillsborough household income is $82K when the houses sell for $2.9 million, raise your polo mallet.

image #220 – 94115 San Francisco

Median Home Price: $1,018,459
Median Price Change: -21%
Average Days On Market: 93
Inventory: 99 properties
Median Household Income: $54,879

You ever see that movie, Pacific Heights, where the psycho tenant tries to drive the yuppie landlords out of their house?  This is where it supposedly took place.  (It actually took place at Texas and 19th Street, in Potrero Hill, but then the house wouldn’t have sold for $750,000 in the late eighties.) 

Pacific Heights: median home price, a million.  Median income, fifty thou.  Why was anyone surprised when an angry renter happened?  Disclaimer: I have actually lived in this zip code.  As a renter.

#227 – 94939 Larkspur

Median Home Price: $1,004,396
Median Price Change: -26%
Average Days On Market: 95
Inventory: 36 properties
Median Household Income: $75,747
Ignored Because: Location, location, location! Right next to San Quentin.

image #236 – 94402 San Mateo

Median Home Price: $982,903
Median Price Change: -10%
Average Days On Market: 103
Inventory: 103 properties
Median Household Income: $82,796

Whoa, look at that map!  This zip is cut into three different pieces!  Well seriously, if San Mateo gets to pick and choose separate parts that go to one zip, of course they can optimize it to get a couple of their zips onto the Top 500.  Place your bets which one we’ll see next, and when!

For this, 94402 is nominated for the Jerry Mander Prize for noncontiguousity.  But it’s still San Mateo so nobody is impressed.  Just the fact that we’re now under a million for the median home price tells us we’re not in Atherton anymore.

image #238 – 94118 San Francisco

Median Home Price: $976,434
Median Price Change: -8%
Average Days On Market: 71
Inventory: 86 properties
Median Household Income: $61,609

This zip contains Inner Richmond and Laurel Village, along with the nice places along the Presidio near Lake Street.  What’s surprising is how close the numbers are to Pacific Heights’ zip code.  Then again, zip codes were designed for postal workers, not real estate agents.

Then again, it includes 19th Avenue, and any house near there could be described as A Thoroughfare Runs Through It.

image #241 – 94127 San Francisco

Median Home Price: $969,776
Median Price Change: -8%
Average Days On Market: 103
Inventory: 50 properties
Median Household Income: $95,313

Remember what I was saying earlier about Portrero Hill?  Well, this isn’t it.  This is Mount Davidson, highest point in San Francisco (928 feet).  The neighborhood southwest of Mount Davidson is called Sherwood Forest.  Now all we need is a Robin Hood to steal from the people who live here (check out the median income).

This is also the site of the park scene with the cross in Dirty Harry, where Harry confronts serial killer Scorpio.

image #245 – 95120 San Jose

Median Home Price: $965,271
Median Price Change: -2%
Average Days On Market: 86
Inventory: 176 properties
Median Household Income: $120,117

San Jose?  No way.

Way, even San Jose finally cracks the list of Most Expensive Zip Codes, although #245 doesn’t exactly serve up bragging rights.  This part of town is on a hill like San Francisco above, but if you can name a movie shot at Calero Reservoir as notable as Dirty Harry (heck, our Governator said that movie influenced his acting career), go for it in the comments.

image #250 – 95033 Los Gatos

Median Home Price: $940,654
Median Price Change: 7%
Average Days On Market: 172
Inventory: 98 properties
Median Household Income: $106,675

Los Gatos’ third zip code squeaks under the wire at number 250, joining more chichi 95030 (#38) and 95032 (#199) in the list of Most Expensive Zip Codes in the United States.

This from the zip that provided the Cheapest House in Los Gatos earlier this week.  But it’s also got its tail cut off!  Did Mean old 95030 bite it when they were duking it out over Monte Sereno?

Next Installment: You’ll be on the edge of your seat wondering if Sunnyvale makes the next cut!  Only on Burbed!!!!

Comments (14) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am